The idea of polygamy is a fairytale in comparison with how it tends to be carried out among supporters

Polygamy and Gender Equality

One of the latest blows to women’s rights in the world comes to us courtesy of the Kenyan Parliament. They passed a bill Thursday making polygamy legal. I was happy when I read the headline and disheartened when I read the story.

I have no problem with polygamy. In fact, I would support making polygamy legal. If you love multiple people and all parties consent to the marriage, then why not? Polygamy is certainly not for me and, personally, I have some moral qualms about the lifestyle. Still, individuals who engage in polygamous relationships have no effect on me. As such, they should be free to carry on as they will. I’m not about the impose my beliefs onto someone else.

The idea of polygamy is a fairytale in comparison with how it tends to be carried out among supporters. I used to watch Sister Wives whenever I happened to catch it on TV. There was one episode where the husband was on a date with his first wife. They started to discuss the topic of jealously and, in an attempt to get her husband to understand, the first wife asked, “How would you feel if I had many husbands?” Her husband was taken aback. How disgusting! It was a disturbing thought that he didn’t even want to consider.

What I wouldn’t have given in that moment for the ability to jump into the TV screen and slap that man! Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, though. I have no idea if that family has any concept of gender equality. It will never cease to surprise me how so many who practice polygamy only believe in one kind of relationship.

The Kenyan Parliament is no different from that husband in their views of ‘traditional’ polygamous marriages. The law would allow a man to take on new wives without his wife’s knowledge or consent. Samuel Chepkong’a, chairman of the justice and legal affairs committee is quoted in a Guardian article saying, “Under customary law, women or wives you have married do not need to be told when you’re coming home with a second or third wife. Any lady you bring home is your wife.”

Two things: 1) I don’t care if you are married to one person or many people. It’s common courtesy to let them know when company will be coming over. I know people who would be seriously offended if you didn’t call beforehand and at least give them a chance to tidy up a bit. 2) Sex does not equal marriage. A woman should have the freedom to sleep with whomever she wants (or not to sleep with people if she so chooses) without being bound to marry the guy.

This law is disgusting as it strips women of the right of consent to a polygamous relationship. I don’t know how serious the law is about any women being brought home being wives. At best, the law is supporting the infidelity of husbands and, at worst, it’s removing a woman’s right to choose her partner by mandating that the man she sleeps with be her husband.

Keep your fingers crossed and hope that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will not sign the bill into law.

Perhaps we simply have not progressed enough in gender equality to handle legal polygamy.

If a law were to be passed in your country legalizing fairytale polygamy (allowing any person to be married to as many other people as they wish regardless of gender or sexuality), how do you think supporters of traditional polygamy (one man, many wives) would react? How would everyone else react? What is your moral stand on polygamy? Would you support it being legal in some form? 

Sources:

Dries, Kate. “Kenyan Parliament Passes a Law Making Polygamy Legal.” Jezebel. N.p., 21 Mar. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

“Kenya’s Parliament Passes Bill Allowing Polygamy.” Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 21 Mar. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

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73 thoughts on “Polygamy and Gender Equality”

  1. My stance is that people can do whatever they want, but I wouldn’t support it. I have many personal reasons for that. But again, they can do whatever they want. I just wouldn’t do it.

    1. I certainly wouldn’t do it either. I guess my stance is that, so long as a person’s actions don’t affect the rights of other people, then they should be able to legally do whatever they want. Yet, I know that’s easier said than done. Maybe Polygamy is really like communism in that the concept seems harmless on paper, but, when put into practice, it’s actually very harmful.

  2. You know, Africa is probably not the best place for us to be looking for laws. I mean, they did just introduce the law that being gay is unlawful – there have been gay hate crimes by the multitude.

    So this law doesn’t really surprise me in that it’s not actually a law allowing polyamory – it’s about allowing the husband as many wives as he wants because in Africa – not many countries support womens rights. If anything, it’s a hotbed of United Nations infractions. From gay hate, to female circumcision to polygamy it seems.

    I would love if people were allowed to marry as many people as they wanted, I mean what they do in their own bedroom or lives doesn’t hurt me in the least. Just because I don’t subscribe to the same lifestyle doesn’t mean that I don’t see the benefit of it, if it’s done correctly and all parties are happy.

    However I dare say that the traditional polygamy people will be up in arms, because you know, feminism is bad for women. They forget their place and sharing a woman between a few men is considered misuse of property, no? I guess it will be the usual malarkey from the religious right, conservatives and the usual suspects when it comes to all things that deviate from the traditional man + woman = marriage variant.

    1. “I would love if people were allowed to marry as many people as they wanted.”

      If only. I don’t know why we feel the need to have law define relationships for us. I mean, whether or not certain lifestyles between consenting adults are legal, they will still happen. I mean, look at Sister Wives. Polygamy is illegal (last I checked) in the United States but there’s still a TV show about people in the states living that lifestyle. People need to live and let live.

      Also… people should not make laws like this. It’s 2014. Women shouldn’t be considered property anymore.

  3. I would remove marriage from laws. why? First because it is about love, not laws. Second, marriage comes from religion, but is acceptable to marry far from religion now, so the source of the concept is outdated (except for those who actually want a religious marriage). Third, it looks like a formalisation of love, but really do we need laws and state to formalise the love for someone? The problem is that marriage implies some legal rights (that are not inherent of concept of marriage) that should be put under some other legal concept (something like legal tutor with respect to parent relationship where the legally meaningful concept is legal tutor). Once marriage is removed from laws polygamy will be completely legal and equal.

    1. I don’t know enough about lawful marriage to know the benefits of legal marriage. That said, I get your point. Like I said to Sharn, people are going to live the lifestyle they want regardless of laws. The Sister Wives get away with their relationship because their husband is only legally married to one of them. There’s nothing stopping him from spiritually marrying the other women or sleeping with them.

      Yet, there must be some benefit to legal marriage. Why else would the LGBT community fight so hard for marriage equality? I think I’d be more comfortable making all marriages between consenting adults legal for those who want those benefits. At the same time, the law should/would not define marriage for religions. If you believe a certain lifestyle is wrong or invalid, then you can carry that belie too. Everyone gets to live the life they want and everyone is happy.

      I realized, though, that the likelihood of that scenario poor. We’ll probably still be fighting over this issue and others for centuries to come.

      1. Well there’s actually quite a few perks you get (tax breaks, superannuation, etc in Australia) as being lawfully married.

        Hence why the LGBTIQ community are pushing for equality. It’s not a religious right, it’s a basic human right. To be able to marry the person you love whether that’s in a church wedding, a jumping over the fire, a handfasting or a gypsy wedding.

        Once married you have access to decreased premiums, combined health care, being able to be at your wife/husbands side if they are terminally ill in hospital etc. There was a point when my ex girlfriend was in intensive care, I couldn’t even sit with her because I wasn’t listed as her spouse because legally I can’t be. In a same sex relationship you have diminished rights because it’s not legally seen as a traditional relationship. Hence the big push from the community to be seen as being equal in all things, marriage included.

        And not all marriages are based around religion. A lot of my family have had handfastings which are beautiful ceremonies showing their love and commitment to each other. There’s no word of god, church, mosque or whatever else you want to worship involved :)

        I think marriage should be an available option to everyone, should they wish it. Religious weddings or not. Love shouldn’t be defined by it, and I don’t think it is. Getting married isn’t for everyone and not everyone will, but I think you make a great point.

        It’s not something that it is going to be resolved quickly and I think it will be something that is argued about for a while. At least until the next generation come through. At which point I think it will become a mute point. I hope.

        1. I can only speak for my own country, but I think it might be possible for there to be monogamous marriage equality in the states within my lifetime. Other relationships like polygamy and open relationships will probably take society more time to accept.

  4. My friend your thinking is crystal clear, however when we as a people attempt to change the natural law, which is the law of God that governs all and all things in the universe we are on shaky grounds. For God is the only true and righteous judge. When we step outside of his law and try to redefine how nature works for the good of all people and all things we are proclaiming ourselves to be the judge over others and God is not please with us when we do such a thing. Let us all be on one accord and pray that God will intervene in the lives of his people, bring them up out of the darkness and into His marvelous light. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with us. Also thank you for visiting and following our ministry. Please return often for we are available and posting daily. May the Lord our God bless you abundantly in all that you do. Now live in His peace and enjoy the fruits of His garden. We bless this word to you this day with peace, power, purpose and prosperity.

    1. Growing up in a religious home, one of the ideas I always respected was free will. Free will is something given to us by Divinity although God did not have to choose to do so. With this free will, we can choose to follow Divinity and we can choose which religion speaks to us. We can choose how we want to live our lives. I think that’s a beautiful and great gift. It’s one of the reason why, while I don’t support this Kenyan law, I would support the legalization of polygamous marriages between consenting adults. It’s not that I think it’s the right choice, but that it’s not my place or the law’s place to strip a person of their God-given free will to choose how they wish to live (even if they use that free will to choose something I think is wrong).

  5. It is pretty much a double edge sword.
    i can understand in some ways th why to support it. and in a certain case I would.
    But in countries where there is some sort made marriage.as being forced I would not consider it a good thing at all.
    In some cases it might even make cheating legal. as to have a second love.

    As for how traditional would react. same as they do now on gays and gay marriage.put it off as wrong.

    So it hard to say what way to choose. though myself is very bad with sharing. so i would not follow it as such.
    Just maybe when going in a direction i might..Tough one to answer.
    Good post.

    1. Thank you. I agree that, if certain restrictions were put on legalized polygamy (such as men being the only one who can have multiple partners or women being forced into such a marriage against their will), that it would be horribly wrong. IF polygamy were to be legal, it would have to be equally legal for all genders and all sexualities. I imagine that would be a hard pill to swallow even among people who support polygamy since they think of it in terms of one heterosexual man with many heterosexual women.

  6. If women were allowed to have multiple husbands, even in our so-called accepting society, they would be shamed as “greedy” and “whores”. It’s the universal double standard. Men are applauded for having multiple partners because that’s more people he’s spreading his seed into. Women are disgusting if they have a boyfriend and men on the side. I say do whoever you want. I know someone who’s in an open relationship. He and his girlfriend have set standards (such as no sex with other partners in their shared apartment) and they can sleep with whoever they want, even though they’re in a relationship. That makes them happy, who is anyone to say she’s a whore or he’s the man?

    1. I never thought about the labels society might specifically apply to women who are interested in having multiple husbands. You make a good point.

      These days, I think having an open relationships is starting to become acceptable. Polygamy, on the other hand, still gets a lot of stigma. I think a lot of traditional polygamists would take issues with the idea of a woman being able to have multiple husbands or, say, a bisexual having multiple partners of different genders. However, someone wants to make polygamy legal, it needs to be done in a way that is equal to all.

    1. I read that the female MPs stormed out when the bill passed. It’s clear to me this is not something that is supported by every citizen of Kenya. The will of the government, unfortunately, does not always reflect the will of the people.

  7. I don’t think it’s real marriage unless it’s 2 people dedicating their lives to each other, committing to grow together and care for each other. Marriage is, by definition, something we enter into with the intention of “forever”. I believe this because we always see that, in practice, polygamy is used to subjugate women. If someone believes that polygamy is fine in one direction, but not the other, then they hold sexist views, and don’t deserve polygamy because they have an attitude of oppression. I think it is a concept that only works theoretically, or when several parties have given up their rights that in my eyes define marriage.

    1. “I believe this because we always see that, in practice, polygamy is used to subjugate women.”

      I think this statement tends to be pretty accurate. This law in Kenya is a perfect example. I might be okay if it were equal for all, but it’s not.

      I have to agree with you on your other point as well, personally, according to my morals, polygamy isn’t a real marriage. However, if there were a law that would make polygamy legal in a way that was equal for all genders and sexualities, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. It’s kind of like cheating. I have a moral problem with cheating. I think it’s wrong and should never happen. However, I would not support a law that made cheating illegal because I don’t think the government should have that much control over the personal lives of citizens.

      1. Definitely. I can believe that marriage doesn’t have to be between a man and a women, but as a married man, I wouldn’t be functioning as such if I had 2 partners. Even if we all enjoyed the physical side of it together, I don’t think it would be quite the same as marriage. And to the person who suggests that we don’t have finite love, I believe we do. I believe love isn’t affection. I believe loving someone is doing loving acts for them, which is why we can love people we don’t like. I only have a finite amount of love, and if I had to actively love more than one person in a marital way, I would be loving them less than they deserve. And I don’t think it’s really polygamy in the sense we’re talking about it if all parties agent okay with it. It’s cheating.

  8. As I am living in a polygamous marriage with two husbands, I know that it can work. My first husband, who is muslim, turned our marriage polygamous when he married a second wife without telling me first, as is his right in islam. I can tell you, the part about not requiring consent is the worst part – not polygamy per se. Now, am am totally pro polygamy, but it must be gender equal. Every other form is an abomination.

    1. It’s great to hear you have found happiness in your marriage. It’s not a choice I would make for myself, but I certianly support the rights of others to choose the relationship they want. I think the last part of your comment is the most important. I must be gender equal otherwise the practice is likely to oppress one gender, which is an abomination.

  9. I all for polygamy as well, but agree that it should always be equal. I don’t hold much hope for Kenya reversing this decision as it is still quite patriarchal. It’s also a foolish policy because populations are already quite high and multiple wife scenarios actually increase birth rates.

    My wife and I have an open relationship, and would probably be even open to the idea of a polygamous marriage if we found the right person. We accept blindly that when we have a second child that we can love that one as much as the first. It is no different than with romantic partners. The love we can feel is infinite, but unfortunately the time and energy we have to express that love is finite. So just like with having a second child, you no longer have the same amount of time and energy you did for the first child, you can’t spend an equal amount of time and energy loving multiple people romantically. So not only is it important that people change their attitudes about love and relationships, for people to have a successful polyamourous relationship those people must also have full enough lives to find fulfillment outside of the relationship as well. In todays society I think that is actually easier to do.

    1. I wish I knew enough about the Kenyan government to know if their president will sign this into law. It will be an unfortunate event if he does.

      I think open relationships are gaining more acceptance these days, but polygamy seems to still face a lot of stigma. It’s odd in a way, since an open relationship implies there is sexual activity without commitment, the only commitment being that between the two married persons. On the other hand, polygamy implies multiple people who are all committed to each other, without involving people outside the family. You’d think that polygamy, then, would be easier to accept than open relationships.

      1. I think if you define marriage as commitment between two people then anything outside of that is hard to accept. Even more secular people who experience a lot of feelings of jealousy find the thought of multiple sexual partners (even in the context of committed relationship) so uncomfortable that they are opposed to it.

        1. This is how I define marriage and feelings of jealousy, among other things, are a big reason for that. I still feel like that’s my choice, though. Just because one type of relationship works for me does not mean it would work for everyone.

          1. Of course, I couldn’t agree more, but many people suffer from the psychological condition of projection. :) If this is how I feel about it, then this is how others feel about it. You don’t show any of the symptoms. :)

  10. I wouldn’t mind if a girl had several husbands, even I didn’t care if a girl has ten husbands and she wouldn’t accept me, lol. In the Inca Empire the women could be generals, or anything, and if she has power she could have several husbands, the same as a powerful man (but the normal people usually has one wife or husband if they want it)
    But the Spaniards invade the empire and they set hypocrites laws that punish an “adulterous” girl but applaud an “adulterous” boy. So in the part where our native culture is stronger if a woman has a romance with another person, well, she is just following her heart, a true crime would be to be a robber.
    Culturally that Kenyan law to me is unacceptable, if men are allowed to have several wifes so then women should have the same right. I have the same thought respect Muslims: if women has to be totally covered so then men has to be completely covered too, or if men can be semi-naked in the beaches so the women have to be semi-naked too. I don’t understand that machismo from the monotheist religions, and more when in the bible the guys have a lot of wifes, (but they condemn Jezebel for the make up…)

    1. I think it all comes down to choice. Religion is more of a choice to me, so I don’t have a problem with those who choose to follow a certain dogma. I have a problem with government imposing a specific dogma on people, thereby removing their choice.

      If a woman believes polygamy is only okay between one men and many women or that she must be covered but men don’t have to be, that’s fine. That’s her choice. She has the free will to believe what she wants.

      My problem with the Kenyan law has nothing to do with polygamy itself, but that it favors men. When it comes to law, all must be equal. If men can have multiple partners, than women should have the same right.

  11. Why get married though? Just be with whoever you want to be with. I don’t know why it has to be official. I mean am I not looking at this the right way? It seems that the problem is men who want to be with multiple women AND marry them. Just be with who you want and drag marriage into the whole thing unless ONE of those women is someone you actually want to live with day in and day out.

    1. Someone else mentioned completely removing marriage from the law. A legal marriage and a religious or spiritual marriage are two different things, after all. US laws against polygamy don’t stop polygamist from spiritual marriages because of our separation of church and state. Clearly we don’t need the law to tell us who we can and can’t marry (except in the case of children. You can’t get married to a child because a child lacks the ability to consent).

      So, to answer your question, I assume the reason people fight for legal marriage has something to do with tax benefits or something. I don’t know. I’m not married. I’d have to look into the benefits of legal marriage to really know how to respond. There must be something there because the LGBT community sure is fighting hard for equal marriage.

      1. TL;DR: Agriculture may have severely altered human sexuality and other apes may be more polyamorous than i thought.

  12. Ummm…you ask some hard questions.

    I’ve been married for 32+ years. And, happily, to the same person. Polygamy never once entered my mind as an attractive possibility. Seems to me, if I am helping make this relationship the best possible for our circumstances, I have no business trying to add other people into the mix. I simply couldn’t find the time or the energy. There are too many complexities.

    If others think they can do it, I am skeptical about what motivates them.

    1. At the end of the day, I don’t really care what motivates someone to choose polygamy. If that’s what they want, then fine. I agree, though, that I couldn’t see a relationship like that. If nothing else, there would be a jealously factor. I couldn’t handle my husband being in love with other people. that lifestyle isn’t for me.

  13. While polyamory is not something I find appealing, it works for some people. And at least it is egalitarian. Everyone knows what they are getting into and it doesn’t favor one gender or the other.

    Polygamy, as I’ve seen it practiced, seems to favor one gender– Usually men.

    Whether it’s polygyny or polyandry, the “one” becomes more important than the “many,” too. So I have concerns with that.

    But in the United States, it’s usually practiced by religious people who are doing it not out of their own free will but because they believe God wants things that way: A patriarchal God who wants things that way. And then boys are accused of wrongdoing and as punishment left out in the middle of the desert. Because the only way you can have polygamy in a community is to either get rid of some of the men, Or leave many of the men without wives.

    But making polygamy legal in United States might actually lead to a decrease in its practice. Because it is illegal and stigmatized people who practice it are ostracized, Or isolate themselves. So the young people who grow up in these communities don’t tend to hear alternative voices, and can’t make friends with non polygamous people. And that limits their choices.

    I feel like it’s hard to say everything I want here. I’ve written on this issue a lot (having grown up Mormon). Here’s one post if you’re interested in checking it out: Gay Marriage, Slippery Slope to Polygamy? http://broadblogs.com/2012/10/19/gay-marriage-slippery-slope-to-polygamy/

    1. Is there a difference between polyamory and Polygamy? I thought they were basically the same thing.

      I wonder if people who are against polygamy consider how the practice would react to being legalized. If those communities were to become more open to the world, I wouldn’t be surprised if more people started to choose a monogamous lifestyle. I think their isolation has more to do with their religion as a whole than just polygamy. Those communities which keep themselves cut off from the outside world remind me of Japan when it cut itself off from the rest of the world. It’s all in an effort to preserve their culture and way of life.

      Thanks for the link. I’ll have to check it out.

      1. Polygamy refers to multiple wives, polyamory refers to multiple lovers. :)
        I think historically polygamy has been used to subjugate women, but so has EVERYTHING ELSE. In the modern day, polyamory could be lovely for those who are inclined that way. As for how some fringe religious groups might take advantage of a polyamory law… I don’t know. It could be bad. It could also make very little difference, since as you’ve said, people are DOING religious polygamy now, it’s just not on paper. I’m not sure how much difference putting it on paper would make for those people.

  14. It’s still amazing to me that discussions and debates even need to arise on these subjects. I’ve felt since I was a child that there’s no way anyone should be able to pass laws on someone else’s lifestyles like this.Defining marriage and love in rigid terms that entirely favour the male in legal terms would be like if the entire world suddenly made vegetarianism mandatory. “A lot of people eat meat, but they’re wrong so we’ve made the choice for them to stop.” If you put that idea to most people, they’d dismiss it as being ridiculous and unfair. Nevermind the fact that vegetarianism, unlike sexuality, is usually a choice. Homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, monogamy, polygamy. People should spend less time trying to make themselves happy and less time trying to enforce their concepts of happiness on other people.

    1. I like the comparison to vegetarianism. Surely there are some people who think that’s the most healthy and ethical way to eat, but other people have other ideas about health. The same goes for marriage. What works for one doesn’t always work for all, so we should enforce one strict form.

  15. I support polygyny, but only the way it’s supposed to be according to scripture…not according to worldly lust. A man should definitely discuss it with his wife first before adding to the family. I’m not saying that he has to get her permission but only that he do it with the utmost respect and love. Treat others like you would want to be treated.

    1. I respect your view of polygyny and your choice to practice it specifically according to scripture. However, when it comes to law, I believe equality is the most important element. The law’s place is to ensure freedom and equality for all persons, not to enforce religion.

  16. I saw this in the news too, and at first I thought: “Wow Kenya is so progressive they’re going to let men and women have the ability to marry multiple people! That’s so cool” and then I read about it, and became disheartened. I don’t really have a problem with people being married to multiple people, as long as its consensual. This is the definition of non-consensual, and there are some pretty blatant power violations in this scenario.

  17. Polygamy is just brain dead stupid. Love one. Otherwise it’s just lust. there is just something about holding that one, making love until you cry for the joy of it, surpasses all language. Oh forgot, the other day, I was going to recommend a book: The Invention Of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd. I highly recommend it. It’s about the Grimke sisters whose family was slave owners from Charleston, they were the first women abolitionist,and among the first champions of women’s rights. I just finished it a week or so ago. The writing is exquisite. .

    1. Yay! I love book recommendations. To GoodReads!

      I would agree that I personally don’t think polygamy is a good idea, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of enforcing that. It reminds me too much of the fight for equal marriage. “I’m against it so no one can get married unless I agree!” I don’t think it’s fair to impose my idea of what marriage should be on someone else.

      1. You know in the beginning, (I’m heavy into ancient history), the father of the groom married the couple. That is he “blessed” them. We’ve allowed a “king” mentality to invade our culture, starting with the Constantine church, (Catholic). To me TK, the idea of a man being able to gather women to his bed, is not about love, its about conquest. And as we say down here, I’m agin it. A woman ain’t property, she is a darling, Forgive my old fashion southern ways, just my rasin.

  18. I always question if I should or shouldn’t accept polygamous marriages. Many times, I consider the fact that I support gay marriage, so why shouldn’t I support polygamous marriages? I’m not equating them as the same thing, because they’re definition not. However, I find that people who support same sex marriage seem to support the motto, “love is love.” So, with that being said, should polygamous marriage be frowned upon, even if it is love, also? There’s something about polygamy that just doesn’t sit right with me. I proudly support gay marriage, and I wonder if I am a hypocrite for not supporting polygamy.

    1. I asked myself this question before I finally came to the conclusion that, if it is equal for all genders and sexualities, I don’t have a problem with it. Now, I still have a moral problem with it because I think people in marriages should give their all to each other. I don’t think this is possible in a polygamous marriage. I am morally against polygamy. I find that this is the same arguments used against equal marriage for all sexualities. People are morally against it. It doesn’t fit their specific definition of marriage. I came the the conclusion that, if I am asking people who are morally against gay marriage to still support equal marriage laws on the basis of equality, then I have to support the same thing when it comes to polygamy.

      That all said, I wouldn’t say you are a hypocrite. Marriage between two consenting adults and between multiple consenting adults are very different. I imagine legal benefits of marriage might be different between the two. There is probably more to the polygamy issue than the moral argument. It’s not like we are just letting people participate in a current system. We’d almost have to create a new legal way to handle legal polygamy.

  19. I was involved in a true polyamorous relationship for a while… both partners allowed to take whatever partners they wished… we were encouraged by a book called “The Ethical Slut” which strove to reclaim “slut” as a positive term and recognize that not all people are cut out for monogamy.

    It’s a very good read, but the takeaway is this: as long as partners clearly define the rules and abide by them with respect and honesty, any type of relationship is okay. For example, if the model of “one man, many wives” honestly works for the many wives without reciprocity (personally, this seems messed up to me), then fine. If both partners define each other as primary and can take incidental lovers, also fine. Often there are physical boundaries set: not in our bed, never overnight, no one I know… that sort of thing.

    But truth be told, it was good for me while it was good for me… then I met someone and had no need for anyone else.

    1. At the end of the day, to each their own. I don’t think an open relationship or polygamy would work for me, but who am I to impose my preference of monogamy on others?

      It’s great you found someone that completely satisfies you. I wonder if that’s actually a rare occurrence in our world.

  20. In India’s great epic, the Mahabharata, there’s a scenario like the one you mention where one wife has many husbands (all brothers and kings). The short version is one of her husbands loses her in a dice game to his cousins and this kicks off the Indian version of Ragnarok.

  21. I am shocked that such laws pass in Kenya. The laws should protecting citizens instead of victimize women (a man allowed to get married for many times without informing his previous partners??!!). What happened if they divorce and having kids? If the state would like to legalize polygamy, make it expensive for the man and be responsible for the previous partners. Plus, legalize as well polyandry practice, make it equal! Sorry but it sounds to me that Kenyan parliament is full of men who would like to take advantage from such law..*any updates on the laws?*

    1. I haven’t heard anything new when it comes to this law, but I agree. This is just insane. I also have no idea what happens to kids during divorce. Given the horrendous nature of this law, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if divorce is illegal all together.

  22. I was born into and raised in a polygamous community and Ive found that it doesnt work. The families with multiple mothers are often divided, the women hate each other and the kids dont get along with their second, third or fourth mother. For us as mormons it was very religious and an honor to be part of a polygamous marriage, girls as young as 17 would beg their parents to let them be married.
    In a controlled environment where people are protected by canadian law the polygamous system is not all bad.

    1. I’m not sure what you mean by “controlled environment” but if you mean in a system where all members are equal and consent to the marriage, then I would be okay with polygamy. Due to my personal beliefs, I find it hard to imagine that polygamous marriages ‘work,’ but that’s okay. That’s my life and my morality. I’m not about to impose that on any system, including polygamous marriages. All I care about it whether they are equal or not.

  23. Hi TK, I’m child # 50 of a polygamist! My only experience with polygamy (that of my parents) is that its extremely painful, and not only for the women. The type of polygamy I grew up is extremist/fundamentalist mormonism. I do think that consenting adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want with their own lives, and the law shouldn’t intrude. The law should be to protect basic human rights & freedoms, etc. not to tell people how they can live, love, practice, etc. As for Kenya…hmmmm… I guess they are evolving at their own pace, right? I hope that some brave women stand up to set things straight!

    1. Wow, #50? I can’t even imagine that. I’ve heard other people with similar stories to yours. It’s part of the reason why I am personally against it. But, it’s not my place to dictate people’s lives. If they want to be fundamentalist Mormon and if they want to engage in that activity, then I won’t stop them any more than I’d stop a woman from having many husbands. As for Kenya, I think there is hope in that the women did choose to raise their voices against this law. They seem ready to fight for their rights.

  24. As much as I would like to have many men of my choice to marry. (I would choose one from many countries and each would have something they could do that one of the others could not do.) I am a christian and that would be a direct route to hell. NOT FOR ME OR FOR MY FUTURE HUSBAND!

    1. I certainly don’t think polygamy is moral, at least not for me. But, so long as polygamy is equal among the genders (which this law is not), I don’t really have a problem with it. To each their own.

      1. Why would you even mention that you fool!!!! Do you have someone in mind you are trying to make jealous? Jealousy does not win anyone over.

        1. Where is jealousy in that comment? I just think consenting adults should be able to have whatever relationship makes them happy. It’s not my place to dictate someone’s personal life.

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